If you share my hatred for the New York Yankees, are you optimistic about their potential demise in the upcoming American League Championship Series?
I think it’s quite possible …..
Admittedly, I have a very soft spot for the Tampa Bay Rays. They exist in Major League Baseball’s most competitive division and they’ve assembled a collective group of ballplayers capable of beating the very best teams. Their cast of talent championed the American League’s Eastern Division, which is a huge accomplishment.
But, last night, I steadfastly rooted for the Texas Rangers in the finale of the teams’ five game series. I wanted to see Nolan Ryan advance to the next round. I wanted to see Josh Hamilton on a bigger stage. I wanted to see Cliff Lee, again.
Oh yeah, and I hope to see Mark Teixeira beaten by his old team.
Most of all, I think the Rangers stand a better chance of beating the Yankees, in comparison to the Rays. While realizing the Rays handled the Yankees during the regular season and they’re very familiar with their divisional rival, I think they’re quite evenly matched. Whereas, I think the Rangers might have the respective strengths to exploit the Yankees weaknesses, especially in a short series.
We all know the Yankees vulnerability is the starting pitching. They’re forced to add A.J. Burnett and his 5.26 ERA and 1.51 WHIP to the postseason roster; he’ll likely pitch Game #4. Burnett joins C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes in rounding out the rotation. Aside from Pettitte’s postseason resume’, the Yankees staff is not overly impressive.
Maybe it’s just me, but I like the Texas lineup against New York’s staff. The Rangers can hit. Better yet, they can MASH …. and the power potential in that lineup exists from top to bottom. They’re also aggressive on the basepaths, as we saw in last night’s win over the Rays. On two occasions, the Rangers scored from 2nd base on ground balls to the infield.
At the same time, I respect the Yankees lineup. However, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have suffered through less than stellar seasons. And, we may very well see the Yankees finally paying the price for an assembled outfield that includes Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner. Not exactly a vintage Yankees cast, huh?
If I look at these teams with a sobering view, the impressions are pretty simple …..
Yankees lineup vs. Rangers lineup – Advantage Rangers
Yankees starting pitching vs. Rangers starting pitching – Advantage Rangers
Yankees bullpen vs. Rangers bullpen – Advantage Rangers
Yankees intangibles vs. Rangers intangibles – Advantage Yankees
I’m certain some readers will think I’m crazy and making conclusions exclusively with my heart, while hoping the Yankees get smoked. Well, I’m certain that figures somehwere into my perspective – I’m only human. And, I do hate the Yankees.
However, I think the Texas Rangers are a more complete ballclub. They just beat the team that outlasted the Yankees through 162 games. And, they rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
When these two teams meet, the Rangers will feature the best player of the two rosters, thanks to Josh Hamilton. They’ll also feature the best pitcher on both clubs, as Cliff Lee has proven. The Rangers are a better team and they’ll prove it in 6 games.
You heard it here …..